20 Gifts for the Guy Who Has Everything

By Camilla Cheung on 8 December 2011 (Updated 25 November 2013) 10 comments

Some guys are notoriously difficult to shop for. I’m sure you have one of these guys in your life. He almost never WANTS anything. And when he does want something, he is so picky that you’re afraid you’ll buy the wrong thing. Or he’s already got so many gadgets and toys that finding something new that he’ll like is a challenge to your creativity. (See also: 25 DIY Gifts for Geeks)

So what do you get for the guy who has everything? Good bets are things that allow him to DO something, such as have a unique experience or work on a new project, rather than things that are passively enjoyed. That way, you won’t feel like you’re just giving him more stuff to accumulate, but he'll still enjoy your gift for months to come. Here are some ideas. (See also: 8 Gifts the Man in Your Life Really Wants)

1. Gift Cards

Gift cards are almost always appreciated; especially ones that help him work on a pet project (such as building garden furniture or starting his new DJ business). Try ones from Home Depot, Harbor Freight, iTunes, Amazon, or REI.

2. Booze

He’ll definitely appreciate a bottle of Patrón, Jack Daniels, or his favorite spirit with a set of monogrammed shot glasses. He may even share. Artisan beers are a nice gift too. (See also: 10 Homemade Liqueurs for Tasty Gifts)

3. Board Games

Board games are increasingly popular, and it’s not hard to find one he doesn’t have yet. Special editions make an especially nice gift. Try fan favorites like Puerto Rico, Carcassonne, Dominion, and Ticket to Ride, which are sure to be hits with board game lovers.

4. A DIY Kit

Give him a project to work on with a DIY kit for a model plane, guitar, or beer brewing.

5. Chocolate

It’s not just women who appreciate a good quality chocolate; men do too. Even if you don’t go for the fancy stuff, some Ritter Sport or a giant Toblerone bar might hit the spot.

6. Swiss Army Knife

A Swiss Army Knife engraved with his initials is a classic gift, especially when accompanied with a promise to go camping someday.

7. Compact HD Video Camera

He may already have the latest digital camera, but does he have a compact HD video camera yet? The Go Pro HD Helmet Hero allows him to attach the video camera to almost any surface, from his surfboard to his bike helmet to his parachute, enabling him to build fun memories in HD. This gift is perfect for adventurers and travelers.

8. Anything Wireless

The EyeFi Pro X2 SDHC Memory Card allows you to transfer photos from portable devices to your computer wirelessly. Or maybe he’d like a wireless Bluetooth headset, a wireless keyboard and mouse, or other gadgets that keep his desk clean and clutter-free.

9. Beer Steins

Come on, you can never have too many of those, and they’ll come in handy at his next party.

10. A Donation

A donation in his name to a favorite charity might please him more than a gift for himself. Try DonorsChoose.org, LIVESTRONG.org, or Heifer International; or donate to a local organization. (See also: 31 Gifts That Keep On Giving)

11. A Universal Remote

A remote to end all remotes will help him streamline his entertainment system. Plus universal remotes are just cool gadgets.

12. Subscriptions

A subscription to something he might not buy for himself will be a gift he can enjoy all year. Some good ideas include Hulu Plus, Netflix, Pandora One, or a good old-fashioned magazine!

13. Classes

Give him a certificate for a rock climbing class, amateur pilot training, yoga, or a cooking lesson.

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14. Grown-Up Toys

Give him a professional-weight Yo-Yo, a regulation Ultimate Frisbee, a collector’s edition action figurine, or a remote-controlled helicopter to satisfy his inner child.

15. A Man Bag

A messenger bag, backpack, or man purse might be just what he needs for work or play. Check out the stylish options from Jack Spade.

16. DVD Sets

Get him a season DVD set of Mad Men, LOST, 24, or another of his favorite shows, and he’ll be sure to enjoy many hours of couch surfing.

17. Luxury

Buy him luxurious items he might not get for himself. Cashmere sweaters, leather jackets, silk ties, alpaca slippers, and silver cufflinks are all luxury items he'll appreciate. After all, guys need pampering too.

18. Art

Spruce up his digs with a limited-edition art print from Etsy or a signed poster of his favorite musician. Or you could paint something yourself for a more personal touch. (See also: How to Buy Art as Gifts)

19. Gift Memberships

A membership to the local gym, art gallery, or aquarium, or to Costco, Sam’s Club, AAA, and other members-only clubs is a practical and useful gift.

20. A Book

Somehow this option doesn’t seem to be as popular as it used to be, but books can be a great gift for the right person. Try classics like The Christmas Carol and Catcher in the Rye, or bestsellers that might interest him such as Freakonomics, Guns Germs and Steel, and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. For hobbyists, a book on photography, birdwatching, or graphic design might do the trick.

What are you planning to get for the guy who seems to have everything?

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Don't Quit Your Day Job's picture

I note that most of these are consumables - that's a great idea. The guy who has everything and isn't a hoarder will eventually go through what you get him then - and you can buy him something similar (but not necessarily equal) the next time it comes up!

Camilla Cheung's picture

Thanks! Yes, that's the goal. I've also heard that making small purchases of consumables more often makes you feel happier than making a rare, big-ticket purchase!

Guest's picture

These are some awesome ideas!! I think some of the best are- a subscription- especially to his favorite magazine, or NetFlix which he'll definitely be able to enjoy for the entire year, a worthwhile gift no doubt about it. Also, I think almost any guy would be impressed and gracious to receive a DIY beer brewing kit! What a cool gift to give or receive. And of course, a special bottle of his favorite liquor always goes over well, but your idea of giving personalized shot glasses with them (maybe with some funny inside jokes on them?) is a really great idea. Thanks!

Guest's picture
Nick

Friends often claim that I'm that guy who has everything and that I'm a pain to shop for. I give this advice: Watch this guy carefully. I give you clues about what I like every single day.
On my list EVERY year? Coffee. Pens. Candles. I use all three every single day. Here's the trick to giving these gifts: Don't break away from my norm. I like plain, ol' coffee, Uniball pens and jar candles. Don't give me flavored coffee because you like it, some expensive pen because you think it's extravagant, or taper candles. I want my coffee to taste like coffee, I want Uniball pens because they write well, I like the colors and I don't feel badly if I lose one, and I like my candles in jars because they're safer than tapers.

By someone just observing what I use every day, that means that they "know" me. They care enough to know about the things that make me happy.

Camilla Cheung's picture

Thanks for that great tip, Nick!

Guest's picture
Guest

Yeah thank you Nick ~ that IS helpful !

Guest's picture
marie

All my dad does is work. He's already subscribed to more magazines than he can read, doesn't really have hobbies and barely watches tv. He doesn't drink.

What I get him is clothing: good warm gloves, work boots, warm pajamas, slippers, sunglasses.

Or food: fruit cake, chocolates, cheeses, quickbreads that I freeze so that he can enjoy them once the holidays are over.

Yes, its boring, but it's all stuff he goes through pretty quickly and would not buy for himself.

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marky mark

I like home-made items, especially baked goods. As a guy "who has everything", those are the things I can't get because they are not sold anywhere. They are unique and personal and (unless I eat them) I'll probably remember who it was from years later.

Gift cards can be hit or miss. I'll use the ones for stores where I regularly shop. But otherwise they'll sit unused. They can be re-gifted, but only if the denomination is reasonable. I'm not going to re-gift a three hundred dollar Tiffany gift card but I'm unlikely to buy anything in that price range anytime soon, so it'll sit around unused for a while... (until I lose it).

Guest's picture
ben

DO NOT give a Netflix gift subscription. Your recipient will be required to enter THEIR credit card information (a prepaid credit card won't work) which will authorize Netflix to charge for the subscription after the gift subscription runs out unless they remember to cancel first.

Guest's picture
GadgetMan

Hi Camilla, This is a nice list - As a self-confessed Man With Everything I sympathise with my wife who always does a great job every birthday. I like your 'Anything Wireless' item - that just about sums up men and their gadgets.

I think a really nice version of an everyday item be it a nice scarf or leather iPhone case is often a better and safer bet than gadgets because let's face it, we don't need most of them and they usually end up in the drawer gathering dust after a week.